Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

I'm talking to Jake Birkett of Grey Alien Games, developer of Regency Solitaire and upcoming card-based RPG Shadowhand. "It occurred the day after I had done some kind of crunch until 5 am," he says. "I got up in the morning and crawled under my desk to switch the plugs on, and my back went out. I'm just in my early 40s now."

In a blog post from 2015, creative director Clint Hocking said the 80-hour weeks he worked during the development of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory "gave me brain damage". Whether or not crunch time is necessary to release a game ‘on time' is a perennial topic in game development circles. The web connecting contractors, publishers, platform holders and developers that determines how release dates are decided upon, and whether they actually get met, is obscured behind a cloud of non-disclosure agreements. When you throw the possibility of community-enraging delays into this potent mix, it quickly becomes apparent how developing a schedule that allows you to make an excellent game, while taking care of yourself and launching in a reasonable period of time, is far more complicated than it might initially appear.

Since release dates are usually set far in advance of a game's completion, developers are always trying to find more efficient ways to account for hurdles that pop up along the way. In the case of Dream Daddy, director Tyler Hutchison developed a compiler that, no matter what changes were made during the game's dev cycle, would automatically plug all of the elements of the visual novel in their proper places upon its completion. However, despite this tool, the team still worked 14-16 hour days leading up to launch. "It was a team of all indie developer people so everyone was just like, ‘Nah, this is fine! We'll just make some more coffee and keep going!'" Hutchison says. "Everyone was really gung-ho, and, of course, that completely exhausted us." Dream Daddy ended up being delayed by six days, but after the resulting exhaustion, the team still worked overtime. "All of us were so aware of it," says Hutchison. "To be like, 'Okay, we're not gonna do this again!' And then we'd send a build to QA at 4 am and just be like, ‘Fuck! We did it again!'

Tanya X Short, co-founder of Moon Hunters developer Kitfox Games, explained the phenomenon of consistent overwork thusly: "Crunching can feel amazing. You feel more productive, even when you're not! 

"Every dev dreads disappointing their players, but, honestly, if you have to choose between disappointing them with a delay or disappointing them with a buggy sub-par game experience, I'll pick the delay every time."

Regardless of developer size, it seems the conversation of how to mitigate crunch when it feels necessary regularly occupies the industry. Bill Gardner, lead designer on BioShock, and cofounder of Perception developer The Deep End Games, recalls Irrational Games occasionally forcing people to leave the building so that they could get some much-needed rest. "The sad reality is every place I've ever been to, every project I've ever worked on, I've never spoken to anyone who knows how to avoid it," he says. "In an ideal industry, that wouldn't be a thing, but games are incredibly complex. No amount of planning, or foresight, or arcane ritual is going to allow developers to anticipate the increasing complexity of the things we make."

Between a rock and a hard place

As demoralising as a delay can be for both developers and their audiences, that extra time could mean yet another developer won't get burned out of the industry they love. In the case of BioShock Infinite, executive VP of development Rod Fergusson felt even a month-long delay could be the difference between releasing a good title, or a great one. The risk of a delay isn't trivial, either. "A delay can be completely devastating," Paul Kilduff-Taylor cofounder of Frozen Synapse developer Mode 7 Games, tells me. "You can lose money you've already committed to advertising; you can lose a promotional slot with a platform holder; you can get into cashflow difficulties because you have to wait to release the game: delays can potentially sink a company if it isn't healthy to begin with."

Which again brings me to crunch: the labour practice everyone bemoans, but few manage to eliminate. When a schedule looks inadequate, and a milestone is looming large, crunch often seems like the only option left.

"It can be very hard just to keep your normal everyday life going," Helen Carmichael of Grey Alien Games says, "But to be productive, effective worker, you still need to eat, sleep and wash. All of those things are really positive and important, and it's easy to let them slide."


The voting for the Golden Joystick Awards presented with Omen by HP closes in just under three weeks (November 3rd), and before that happens, we want to see our favourites from the last 12 months get the recognition they deserve. Not to manipulate the process because we want all the PC games to win in every category, or anything, but because there are so many amazing projects nominated that we want to celebrate. 

If you vote, too, you get a free digital copy of The Best PC Games Ever, which we published earlier this year. Take a look here for more information on what's inside, but it contains a great making of feature on the All Ghillied Up mission from Call of Duty 4, retrospectives on classics like Red Alert 2, Deus Ex, Max Payne 2 and tons more. All you have to do is vote, enter your email, then you'll receive instructions on claiming this lovely-looking digital book.

There's a bunch of great PC games up for awards at the Golden Joysticks this year. Rock-hard modern classic Cuphead is up for best visual design, for example, and offbeat horror platformer Little Nightmares is deservedly nominated for best audio. The best indie game category is full of great PC titles, of course: Dream Daddy, Everything, Friday the 13th, Night In The Woods, Pyre, Slime Rancher, Stories Untold, Tacoma, Thimbleweed Park and What Remains of Edith Finch. And that's just a few of the categories. There are three eSports categories, and the best PC games category has the likes Total War: Warhammer 2, Endless Space 2, West of Loathing, PUBG, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam and a bunch more—check out the voting page and pick your favourites. 


Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator - Valve
Save 33% on Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator during this week's Midweek Madness*!

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
Homeworld Remastered Collection - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jamie Wallace)

Dream Daddy

Not only does Humble currently have its second ‘Very Positive’ bundle going on right now, the site is now listing a separate sale, appropriately titled the ‘Very Positive Sale’. As with the bundle, the sale features a bunch of games all with ‘Very Positive’ or higher ratings on Steam right now, with discounts of up to 80%.

Before you ask, yes, that means you can get Dream Daddy for 9.89 / $13.49. Also featured are things like lovely retro Metroid-like Axiom Verge, perpetual Early Access feudal RPG Kenshi, the Homeworld Remastered Collection, Sniper Elite 4 and more.

We covered the strange adventure possible in Kenshi quite recently. In a year that gave us Divinity: Original Sin 2’s hungry elves and face-stealing undead, it’s astonishing to realise that Kenshi has weirder cannibalistic possibilities than Larian’s latest masterpiece.


Jul 30, 2017
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator - awfulTyler
Hello, Dads! We're all thrilled about the response to the game and want to thank you all sincerely for playing. Today's update should fix a lot of the issues we've had reported to us over the past week. Here are the changes...
  • Fixed inconsistency in mother/father choice during the intro. You know how forgetful Dads can be but that was a bit much.
  • Corrected other consistency errors based on player choices during the intro, especially during the cookout.
  • Fixed a variety of animation/character movement/transition bugs throughout the game.
  • Also fixed a handful of grammar, spelling, and dialogue issues throughout the game.
  • Fixed an issue that caused Joseph's twins to randomly reappear in the Diner in Craig's path. We're not always gonna be around to fight your battles for you, but this was a weird one. Those kids had to go.
  • Rebalanced choices related to Amanda so it should be easier to see her bad ending. Honestly we're not sure why you'd want to do that, it seems like you two have a nice relationship.
  • Quizzmaster Quinn is more talkative now.
  • Did some work in the backyard. The old tree is looking more idyllic than ever.
  • Adjusted texture settings, solving Daisy's weird pixelated appearance. She's a high-quality kid and doesn't deserve such low-quality treatment.
  • Tweaks and balancing for the Hugo Date 1 minigame.
  • Tweaks and balancing for the Brian date 1 minigame. A competitive Dad should get a reward for beating all 18 holes now.
  • Brand new, fully Dad minigame during Robert Date 2.
We apologize for any issues you've had playing the game and ask that you please report any bugs you encounter on the Support subforum of our Steam Discussions page and/or through our support email at dreamdaddyhelp@gmail.com!

There was a bug in Hugo Date 3 causing the game to lock for some players. This has been found, fixed and patched!
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

Last week we asked you to show us your dream daddies. No, not your ideal father figures in real life, but the man you imagine when you think of—well, the imaginary cartoon man you'd like to guide through the choppy waters of the dad dating scene. And by dad dating, we mean dads dating other dads, exclusively. It's the premise of Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator, which starts of with a great character customizer, proven by some of the fantastic fathers you sent our way. Here are some of the best entries we received, with their provided descriptions attached (if they had one). 

Some comments have been edited for grammar and clarity.

Dad: Hulk HoganDesigned by: Katarzyna Vidavidtch


What you do mean, oops?

Dad: Adam WildeDesigner: Mathilde Semin

"Adam Wilde, the Hipster Dad. ( Am I using "hipster" right ? Help me, Amanda ! ) King of trying too hard, very nitpicky on punctuation, and ready to mocha-out with one hot barista."

Every use of 'hipster' is the correct use. If I breathe or sip from a mug, I get called a hipster from someone in the building across the street. Fire away. 

Dad: Al Nyason  Designed by: Al

"My dad is pretty much a total drama queen, but he is also a total worrywart and tends to try and get Amanda to talk to him about her problems instead of letting her have her space. He apologizes for it though nonetheless. He knows when he is at fault. He just really gets worried easily. But other than that, he doesn't mind if he embarrasses himself with his antics with Amanda since he likes showing everyone that he has a good relationship with her. He tries his best to be the dad who his daughter can see as someone she can talk to when she can't talk to anyone else."

Dad: Geralt Designed by: Matthias

This dad needs no introduction. 

Dad: Vince "Vinny" McCurdgeonDesigner: Mag Magnet

"He is the dad I would be, had I been born a dad. aLSO I SAW HIS LOOKALIKE IN A MALL TODAY??? I MADE HIM REAL!!!!!


Dad: Geralt Designed by: Tirahmisu

"Is he daddy Geralt enough for you?" asked Tirahmisu in their submission. 


Dad: Cornelius Flowers  Designed by: Ronny

"My dadsona is Cornelious Flowers, freshly stepped out of an early '90s small town indie flick." 

Played by a young Ryan Gosling, apparently. 

Dad: Yui PlisetskyDesigned by: Lanean

This dad design is based on Yurio from the popular anime series, Yuri on Ice. 

Dad: Jack HarperDesigned by: Melanie Hawke

"Beard and hair matches the outfit, of course. A good dad. A good egg." 

That's a man, not an egg!

Dad: Mishka Medvedev  Designed by: Loki Duck

"This is my dadsona Mishka Medvedev c: He's a Russian papa that looks grumpy and tired all the time but is actually really loving and friendly and speaks in broken English.

His name also basically means Teddy Bearson. XD"

Dad: Mayne Kretzky  Designed by: Gokazaru

"My dadsona is an ice hockey coach named Mayne Kretzky. Like Wayne Gretzky, but with my initials."

So far, two of the dads we chose have ice-skating skills. Dads, take note. 

Dad: Eggnips McGee Designed by: Brandykins

"Basically the male me, haha."

Cool, cool, but where can someone get that t-shirt? Asking for a friend.

Pyre - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

Podcast hosts Brendan, Pip and Adam

What’s that unsettling white noise coming from the other room? Oh no, it’s the 10th episode of the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. This week, the gang are talking about horror in games (but not necessarily “horror games”). Adam and Brendan are terrified by the depths of Subnautica, which doesn’t frighten Pip in the slightest.

But we also like playing non-scary things. Brendan has been competing in the purgatorial fantasy sport of Pyre, and Adam has been catching fish and watching tranquil sunsets in Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. Meanwhile, Pip has been dating dads in the gay suburban utopia of Dream Daddy. There’s also reader questions, in which we return to the subject of horror, and experience the shrill scream of a truly terrifying beast… (more…)

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

Dream Daddy

Look. I’m good at romance/dating sims. I’m good at seeing the things it wants me to do in order to get the rewards of the heart (or the, uh, lower regions). I think a lot of people are because the games tend to hinge around you gaming the NPCs to reap some kind of reward. You take the character who likes animals on a date to the zoo. You wear a leather jacket to meet the rebel. You switch up your seduction (or entire personality) to tick person after person off your list. I’m a mercenary lovebot dispensing chocolates, offering an absolutely insincere shoulder to cry on and switching up my manipulations to suit my own transactional end game of collecting all the experiences.

So how the hell did Dream Daddy manage to get under my skin? Why do I now have a canon playthrough? How is it giving me warm and fuzzy feelings???? DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING. (more…)

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is out today, and the internet is flooding with top notch dads of all types, from the expected robust bearded boys to straight up scenesters with multicolored hair that’d make a rainbow keel over and call it quits. That’s because before you dive into the daddy dating scene, you need to make your own dad using a character creator brimming with assorted dad bits. Mine is up top. Can you guess who I’m channeling? 

But nevermind my awful first attempt—this is where you come in, readers. We want to see your dads. Not your real dads, obviously, but we want to know who you’re taking into the dating arena and why. Show us your daddy homages built in the image of your favorite pop culture icons, your best original creations, or your vision for the ideal Dad of the Future™—and if no one makes Poppa Geralt, I’ll be severely disappointed.

Drop a link to an image of your dream daddy in the comments and we’ll collect the best submissions in a showcase a few days from now. 

Crypt of the NecroDancer

With thousands of games releasing each year, there's more head-bopping, heart-squeezing videogame music than we can keep track of. But we tried anyway, scraping through our libraries (and beyond) to find what we consider the best tunes of the year so far. Headphones and/or the subwoofers in your kid's car are definitely recommended. 

If you like the music, be sure to let the artist know—maybe buy a few records on vinyl, invite some friends and family over, get a cheeseboard way above your budget going, and let a track like Intentional Death and Dismemberment Plan direct the evening.  

Tooth and Tail

Austin WintoryListen hereTango and latin dance music may not strike you as the best fit for a game about feudal gangs of small animals at war, but Tooth and Tail manages to pull it off. Every song is played with 20th century Russian instruments that blend the dance tunes into something a bit more pastoral, and once the drunken barroom singing comes in, you'll want to start dancing again—just with a battle axe in the hand that isn't busy with beer.  

Destiny 2's Hive theme

Michael Salvatori, Skye Lewin, C Paul JohnsonListen hereMost of Destiny 2's music is fine. It's just fine. You get nice orchestral swells that imply drama and hope and a story much bigger than yourself. It's typical Big Game Stuff. But tucked away on Titan, a planet you aren't required to spend much time on, you'll find the creepy-crawly Hive enemies, and accompanying them is the best music in the game by far. With one foot in Quake's Nine Inch Nails lo-fi industrial noise and the other in the punched up, blown out orchestral sounds of a Marvel movie fight scene, the Hive themes in Destiny 2 narrate the action as much as they drive it, providing a stylish soundscape of scraped guitars steady percussion to pop alien heads to. Shame it's hidden away.


Various ArtistsListen hereRuiner's somber synth beats feel like a direct response to Hotline Miami's retro club boomers. They're just as loud, have just as much bass, and the melodies are just as catchy, but Ruiner's soundtrack brings a sinister sadness right to the fore rather than bury it as subtext. In Ruiner's dystopian cyberpunk world, everything is awful and everyone knows it, but swaying and lazily bobbing your head is still a reliable way to tread the existential waters.  

Sonic Mania

Tee LopesListen hereOK, so Sonic is good again (let's not talk about Forces), but what would we think of Sonic Mania if it didn't get such an excellent soundtrack? It's a surprising return to great level design for the series, but the biggest contributor to what makes Mania so endearing is its flashy, confident style—and the vibrant, energetic, and diverse soundtrack is largely to thank for that. If you weren't in control of the blue blur of a hedgehog zipping across the screen, the temptation to play air piano to the Studiopolis themes would be impossible to resist.  

Nidhogg 2

Various ArtistsListen hereThe trend of games with excellent compilation soundtracks continues. Hotline Miami popularized the practice, pulling from a handful of artists to cure an aural identity, but now Nidhogg 2 is the new champ. With a catchy, danceable tracklist, every track supports the physical comedy of its prolonged fights and the wacky new artstyle, but stays just as listenable on the dance floor or on a long commute home. Turn it up.  


Kristofer MaddiganListen hereOf course Cuphead was going to make the list. To fit with its Fleischer Studios animation style, Studio MDHR enlisted a big band, a live big band for its recording sessions. The result is a massive soundtrack of toe-tapping hits, each with the ability to get a room up and moving. It might be the most surprising and instantly likable of all the soundtracks released this year.  


Mick GordonListen hereMick Gordon of Doom (2016) fame is back on Prey, but with the fuzz and feedback on his electric guitars (how do guitars work?) turned down, and the reverb on his synths and acoustic guitars turned up. Prey's soundtrack melds the computerized rhythms of '70s sci-fi with the homespun sounds of solo country music, planting a grassroots vibe at the center of its digital sound, firmly anchoring the cerebral story in the realm of possibility. 

Dream Daddy

Will WiesenfeldListen here OK, so most of the Dream Daddy soundtrack is pretty simple, but the theme song will bore itself into your subconscious and never leave. Written and performed by Will Wiesenfeld, who also performs as Baths, the theme song channels the exaggerated romance and humor of one of 2017's most playful dating sims. It's also just a damn good song.  

On the next page, we list the best PC game music from the first half of 2017. 


David KanagaListen hereOikospiel’s soundtrack is 100 percent intertwined with the game. Watch Kanaga’s GDC talk from a few years back to see what I mean—and no, you probably won’t understand, but that doesn’t really matter. Just know that Kanaga is a genius composer, treating 3D models and game mechanics exactly like he does music, because really, they’re all the same. Also, hell, Celine Dion has never sounded this good.  —James Davenport 

Night in the Woods

Alec HolowkaListen hereFor the sheer breadth of the soundtrack alone, Night in the Woods is worthy of praise. Individual characters and locations all have their own motif, and that’s just Volume 1. In Volume 2, things get dark. Motifs change with the in-game seasons where things get super sad and hazy for Mae, our favorite protagonist cat. Over the first two volumes, the soundtrack ranges from quiet and sweet to dark and mysterious with music for parties in the woods and city hall theater. But the real kicker comes in Volume 3, which is the soundtrack from Demontower, a whole game within the game. It’s a rad old school throwback that inspires headbanging of the metal and head-against-keyboard variety. —James Davenport

Nier: Automata

Keiichi Okabe, Keigo HoashiListen hereThe first time I entered the resistance camp in Nier: Automata, nestled among some felled skyscrapers in the game’s ruined city, I stayed for more than an hour. And it wasn’t because it looked good, or because there were lots of NPCs to talk to and items to purchase. It was because of the music. Nier: Automata is widely praised for its score—and count me among the people who think it’s among the best I’ve ever heard—but ‘Peaceful Sleep’ is something else. Its prettiness belies an overwhelming sensation of grief, which only properly sets in after you’ve left and returned to the camp a couple of times. The rest of the soundtrack is sublime too, especially this and this, demonstrating that even the most barren, unremarkable video game landscapes (because let’s be honest: Nier isn’t a looker) can be rendered otherworldly by the right music. —Shaun Prescott 

Thimbleweed Park

Steve KirkListen hereThe opening tune to Thimbleweed Park tells you exactly what kind of game it’s going to be. A cheesy, mysterious guitar hook invites you in and the elevator music convinces you to stay. Every character and location has a distinct theme, recalling everything from synth pop to a pixelated Hans Zimmer. There’s drama and jokes abound in Thimbleweed Park, but they would feel hollow with such a diverse, playful score. —James Davenport  


Joel CorelitzListen here Tumbleseed is a brutally hard roguelike with a deceptively adorable appearance and a soundtrack that’s shockingly good. Every track exudes the 80’s, sounding closer to the soundtrack for Drive than you’d expect out of a brightly colored marble maze game. Frankly, it’s one of the few things that kept me from throwing my controller across the room while playing. —Tom Marks 

Crypt of the Necrodancer - Aria Awakened

FamilyJules Listen here Holy shit. The most prolific game music guitarist on YouTube (FamilyJules) teams up with one of our favorite composers (Danny Baranowsky, of Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac) for this tsunami of guitar solos. There are a bunch of official, album-length covers of Crypt, including this killer chiptune remix, but Aria Awakened is the only one that will melt your headset. Start with Trial of Thunder. —Evan Lahti


Austin GreenListen here We loved Austin's rock covers of Windows 3.1 midi songs so much we interviewed him about making this short album earlier this year. They're wonderfully peppy. It's hard to listen to these songs without cracking a smile and tapping a foot. And they're also deeply nostalgic for anyone who remembers the early days of PC midi music. Hear Canyon.mid and be transported back 20 years. — Wes Fenlon


David Wise, Grant KirkhopeListen here As a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie Yooka-Laylee left a lot to be desired, but in terms of music Playtonic knocked it out of the park. Veteran Rare composers David Wise and Grant Kirkhope both contributed to a score that sometimes outshines the game’s own inspiration. Not every song is a masterpiece, but there’s a lot of nostalgia to love in this game’s soundtrack. Plus, it gave us this gem. —Tom Marks

Outlast 2

Samuel LaflammeListen hereMost of Outlast 2 consists of running and hiding, and Laflamme’s score has the percussive highs and lows to keep your heart rate steady whether you’re chilling in a barrel or a god-fearing murderer is nipping at your heels. But underscoring it all are light, sometimes hopeful string accompaniments. There’s a pathos in Outlast 2’s score that speaks to the humanity at the center of the conflict. After all, the bad guys are just looking for salvation. They’re scared too.  —James Davenport  

Hollow Knight

Christopher LarkinListen here This soundtrack meets Hollow Knight’s gorgeous animated art and silently assembled mythos right at the top. It’s epic, if I’m able to reclaim the word, and whimsical, the perfect accompaniment to an intense boss battle or quiet, solemn exploration. Give Crystal Peak a meditative listen, then go loud with Dung Defender. —James Davenport  


Patrice BourgeaultListen hereI hesitate to call Flinthook’s soundtrack simple, but it knows exactly what kind of game it’s playing for. Flinthook’s OST is swashbuckling chiptune majesty, an onslaught of fast, fun, victorious bleeps and bloops. It plays like a cheerleading squad combined with a wholesome, but slightly too competitive, dad screaming at you from the sidelines that hell yes, you got this, that’s my hook-swinger right there.  —James Davenport  


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